Friday, July 22, 2016

Finding Faith: After The Rain

After The Rain
oil on canvas
30 x 24 inch


After The Rain
video (click to play)

After The Rain


About the Creation of After The Rain

This is the third completed project in my Finding Faith series of works that include video, photography and painting.  The idea for this one has been stirring in me since Spring,  It began when I came upon a tee pee constructed of large fallen tree branches in a wooded area I often visit during my daily walks.  It stood about 15 feet tall and I wanted to incorporate it into the work somehow.  However, it was difficult to find the time for the shoot.  Faith works full time and was very busy with her upcoming wedding (which takes place next weekend!) and preparations to move to another city.  The shoot would have to wait until her schedule opened up.

In June Faith was able to commit to a date, which would take place on a Saturday morning, early enough to avoid the Kansas heat.  In the meantime I walked the area several times to check out the condition of the tee pee, worried that someone would come along and tear it down before we could get there.  Actually, it did start to fall little by little, but that was not my biggest problem.  To my horror one day, I realized that the path leading to the tee pee along with other paths that were going to be in the shoot were covered with poison ivy!  There was NO WAY I was going to risk it with Faith's wedding around the corner.  Another problem I had was coming up with a story that made any sense.  All I knew was I wanted to use that tee pee.  I dreamt up everything from a bird doctor of some sort living in the woods, to a lost girl finding her way, to some sort of mother nature being who pranced about making the wind blow, the birds sing, and the bees buzz.  (Oh brother...rolls eyes).  What I am saying, is that the story did not come easily and all my ideas seemed ridiculous.  But I really wanted to photograph and paint Faith in those woods! 

Well, the idea came suddenly and it all started with going grocery shopping of all things.  What happened was, it was pouring rain that day and I was obsessed with my project, deeply disappointed because of the poison ivy situation.  I had already invested hours in testing the area out, breaking it down to where we would shoot, taking practice shots of it.  I had also already shopped for and hand-stained and painted Faith's clothing.  I made a practice crown out of leaves too.  I just had to find a way to make it all work.  I knew the tee pee was definitely out, but I could not let go of wanting to do something using the woods as the backdrop.  I could have waited until another day, but I am not a patient person sometimes.  Especially when it comes to a vision.  I didn't have a solid story, but my vision of how Faith would look in an earthy tattered white dress among all that lush green was clear as crystal in my mind.  

As I drove near the woods on the way to the grocery store, my obsession made me pull over.  I grabbed an umbrella and my camera to look for a Plan B.  Maybe there were areas without poison ivy.  When I approached the pond (seen in the video) it looked so peaceful in the rain.  I watched it for a while thinking, and then started to take video.  I decided to scope out the area some more to look at other places that were supposed to be part of the shoot.  I was so excited to see that one of the paths I had chosen originally, was not covered in poison ivy! It was the path with the large tree seen in the photos and video.  I have always loved the look of it on the edge of the path, woods beyond it so deep and dark green.  Lucky luck!  It was surrounded with a lovely ground cover type of ivy.  Not poison ivy!  I took multiple video shots and decided I should leave since it was lightening.

The rain started to slow down.  I decided to visit the river and see if there were some possibilities there to help create some sort of tangible story.  It was when I saw the geese gently floating on the water, that the story hit me.  I wasn't going to need the tee pee after all.   I had plenty to work with.  The story would simply be about nature...loving nature, being in nature, and wanting to be one with it at times.  It would be about the peace that is present in it, and how it makes us ponder and think and remember. It would be about how nature soothes and calms our spirits when we are troubled.  A simplistic idea, but with different and complex meanings to everyone.  Who doesn't feel something when they are in it?

My next thought was that I could use the rainy video clips I had just taken if  by chance Faith could do the shoot that evening.  This way there would be continuity in the colors of the photo and video takes.  I sent her a text asking her to call me when she got off work. I was worried she would think I was crazy to twitch gears so suddenly, but she said she could do it!

 There were more storms out there, but as luck would have it again, the storms moved north.  The clouds remained, giving us perfect conditions for our shoot.  Faith got ready and was at my house in a blink. We had already discussed how she needed to do her makeup earlier in the week, and her hair is naturally curly, so no work required there.  I made her a fresh crown with cuttings from a bush in our front yard.  We grabbed some props to use and dashed away knowing our daylight was limited.  

Faith looked stunning and the surroundings were magical after the rain.  I always joke about the "art gods" looking after us, because on all three projects we've completed so far, it amazes us how things come together so smoothly.  There was no one around for the most part which makes things easier, especially for Faith.  We were also blessed with a sunset and the Canadian geese were cooperative.  Well mostly...they tried to go after Faith to take her basket of crumbs.  She looked quite graceful trying to run away from them.  :)

It took a very long time to choose only a few photos out of the nearly 200 taken!! There were so many good ones.  

When it came to the painting, all the green that would be required was intimidating.  I suspected it would take a long time and it did.  I took the advice of my friend Julie Ford Oliver.  She said to start with a thin transparent red oxide in order to tone down the harshness of the greens.  I did that and it did make the painting seem warm from start to finish.  I also stayed away from sap green and other ready-made greens until the end, even then using them sparingly.  I used ultramarine blue, ultramarine violet, Indian yellow and cadmium yellow light to make the greens.  The palette knife came in really handy too.

I did freeze up a few times on the painting.  I just get so afraid to move forward, afraid to botch it.  In the end, it came together just as the photo shoot did.  Happy Lisa.

I might post a making-of video and some photos soon.  Would you be interested in that?  I plan to continue with the Finding Faith projects, however don't be surprised if you see some new faces in the future since Faith is moving away.  People have asked if the paintings are for sale.  They are not as of yet.  Many have suggested I do a show with these works, and that is exactly what I hope to do some day when I have enough of them completed.  It would be a dream to have a exhibit including video, photos, paintings and the props used in each one.  Who knows!  It may be 2020 before I get around to it, but it is something to work for.  :)

Thank you so much for all your comments and visits here and on my Facebook and Instagram sites.  It is SO meaningful to know that people look forward to these.  

♥ Lisa